Kia ora. Welcome to the first newsletter of 2020. It comes at an extraordinary time for all New Zealanders, including all those like you working in the school sector. We hope that, despite school closures and being confined to home, you, your families, your students, and your colleagues are able to keep well and continue to live, work and learn together, albeit in many instances remotely. And in the midst of such challenging times, we trust that the arts will continue to be a ‘force for good’ in your personal life, your school, and your community.
It’s important for wellbeing that, as much as possible, all of us sustain our relationships and continue to meet our responsibilities, although our routines and ways of doing so may have to change. So this newsletter follows its usual pattern. But please be assured that we are mindful of your changed circumstances and want to support you in whatever ways we can. For example, we will certainly be providing guidance and supporting questions and discussions about distance learning in the Arts Online email lists.
So onto our news. The Arts Online team held its annual face-to-face workshop early this month. As well as Jane and me from Cognition and our five wonderful facilitators (Sally, Bridget, Patrice, Ryan, and Martin), four representatives from the Ministry of Education attended. It was valuable for them to hear from the facilitators, and for us to hear updates from them on Creatives in Schools, improvements for TKI, and the changes to NCEA.
We hope you enjoy this newsletter and continue to benefit from the sharing of expertise and experience within the Arts Online communities and mailing lists.
Ngā mihi nui
On behalf of the Arts Online team
Sally Waanders – Art History
Bridget Blair – Visual Arts
Patrice O’ Brien – Dance
Ryan Timoko-Benjamin – Drama
Martin Emo - Music/Sound Arts
Jane Ferguson & Simon Chiaroni – Administrators, Cognition Education
Over the last year, I’ve been working on my PHD in Education looking at classroom music teachers and how they conceptualise music education. The first step of this study requires me to wade through all of the relevant research, studies and discussion that have happened up until the present day, in order to navigate a path forward for myself and my PHD. One theme I have found is that teachers' perceptions of digital technology are influenced by beliefs that pre-exist their use of the technology. In other words, some teachers make up their minds about how effective something is before they even use it. That sounds like trying to feed a new food (usually a vegetable) to a young child.
This has caused me to reflect on my own teaching journey. I hold a Bachelor of Music in History, Literature and Theory (what one could say is the most ‘classical’ and ‘western’ of all of the music majors), but I also also believe that digital technology brings great affordances to music education. How did I get to this position? Why did I take a risk in spending 10 hours learning a new software tool with the hope that I could use it to help the students in my classroom? One of the answers might lie with what I see amongst the music teachers in the workshops I lead around NZ. What teachers do works for some of their students, but not all. What they have done in the past generally worked in the past, but shifts in society, culture and their context have led them to think about what they could do differently to better meet the needs of the students in front of them.
To return to two quotes that I find illuminating but challenging:
“Beliefs are unlikely to be replaced unless they prove unsatisfactory, and they are unlikely to prove unsatisfactory unless they are challenged and one is unable to assimilate them into existing conditions.” (Pajares, 1992)
“The recurrent, systematic and critical examination of beliefs and assumptions – of the grounds for our musical and instructional actions – is fundamental to professional practice in music education.” (Bowman & Frega, 2012)
The Review of Achievement Standards (RAS) currently underway is an opportunity to change how we assess student progress and achievement and to reconsider what we teach students. The NCEA standards are seen by some as a proxy curriculum, and guide the content of music education in secondary schools. The RAS is a time for all teachers to be challenged about what they believe and assume music education to be. (It will do the same for every subject area.) I hope that teachers will engage in the process and take up the challenge to reflect on their own beliefs about education and discuss them with colleagues – and then provide feedback on the draft standards instead of holding onto their pre-existing perceptions of what music education is, and what that means for them. I am encouraged by the level of engagement already, but realise it’s a long journey till the end of 2025.
Arts Online national music facilitator
Now that we are at Level 4 state of shutdown for COVID-19, let’s share as much as we can over dancenet to support our students to continue learning while they are in isolation.
See the Dance Subject Page at NZQA for the 2020 assessment specifications and a range of other support materials. Perhaps now is a good time to get students onto learning for externals.
Video - For some fun to cheer us up in these difficult times, see this video of iconic dance bits from Broadway shows.
Please be willing to share any great resources that you find that allow students to do dance work on their own.
See the drama subject page at NZQA for the 2020 assessment specifications and a range of other support materials.
Features (including a video pick and an article of interest)
This National Theatre vocal warm up focussed on Breathing with Jeannette Nelson is one in a series of clips exploring vocal preparation for actors.
Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenland of theatre company RashDash lead this movement masterclass, incorporating techniques that can be used by students in the devising process. It’s great for exploring with learners, providing provocation and a framework for exploring movement to express ideas through physicality.
Events (dependent on Covid-19 Alert Levels)
Indian Ink’s Krishnan's Dairy
Location: Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
Friday 8th May & Saturday 9th May at 7:30pm
Check out the trailer, here.
Story Studio LIVE - Capital E
Term 3, Various Locations
Based on the themes of kaitiakitanga and climate change, showcasing the diverse stories of young people in an engaging show that can be performed in your school hall.
Te Rākau present Undertow, an electric Theatre Marae experience showcasing four short Māori plays.
The early stages of a National Arts Alliance are being formed with guidance and advice from the successful Australian National Arts Alliance. It is hoped that this group will help with advocacy and stronger connections between arts organisations. This is being partly spearheaded by MENZA for Music.
The Networks of Expertise partnership between MENZA and the Ministry of Education continues to deliver high-quality professional development around the country. We hope that this policy will continue after June 2020.
The Music Technology Unit standards were reviewed in late 2019 and are currently out for sector feedback. Initial responses are positive.
The Music SEG group is soon to be named and have their first meeting. There is considerable apprehension mixed with hope about what the changes will mean for teachers when they trial the new standards in 2021.
With a number of countries closing their schools due to Covid-19, there is a flurry of emails and tweets about how to teach online. This list by Ethan Hein is a great place to get started.
Ninajirachi, is an Australian-based producer who makes field recordings to add texture to her drums. Watch a short video here about how she does that.
The key to a better learning culture - a podcast applicable to our team and leadership positions and our classroom culture. “It’s not about being like fake happy, fake nice, it’s about candour and having the right conversations, saying what needs to be said. You need people to speak up”. Sleep and Learning Podcast with Dr. Marcos Frank from Trainugly - might also be good to share with learners.
Mark Wallinger: The artist who wants to provoke pupils' creativity
Three weeks ago the Ministry of Education announced its intention to drop Level 1 Art History from the NCEA. In the intervening weeks, the Executive Committee has been discussing the issue and has gathered information to gain a current and fuller picture of the uses Level 1 is put to and teachers’ views. Teachers have illustrated how valuable it is to critical thinking, to enhancing students’ understandings within their Visual Arts study, to gaining literacy credits, and to promoting Art History to retain and gain student numbers in higher levels. There is also evidence that it is being used in integrated curricula, which is something that has been promoted by the Ministry of Education through the design of Innovative Learning Environments in schools.
With the NCEA Review of the matrix and standards set to begin this year, the Association will look forward to hearing your views on how these may be shaped. Please feel free to comment at any time. A record will be kept of all suggestions.
If you are not a member of NZAHTA at present and wish to join, you can obtain a membership form by contacting Treasurer Sally Waanders at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
President, New Zealand Art History Teachers Association
Features (including a video pick and an article of interest) From Duchamp to Demand - 10 Masterpieces that show the evolution of conceptual art
Unbound from traditional art mediums, conceptual artists quickly moved into idea-privileging formats such as found objects, archival documentation, text, and video. Zaha Hadid - an architectural legacy
Dame Zaha Hadid, one of the world's leading architects, died in 2016 aged 65. She was born in Iraq, but called the UK home for 40 years. She designed some of the world's most innovative buildings, including the Guangzhou Opera House in China, and the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Events & Exhibitions (dependent on Covid-19 Alert Levels)
Auckland City Art Gallery - The Enchanted Worlds - Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan - until 1st June
The exhibition presents a captivating introduction to the characters, places and pastimes of a flourishing era during Japan’s more-than 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the world.
Te Papa Wellington - Faka Tokelau - Living with Change - until 31st May
Tokelau’s unique way of life, faka-Tokelau, through the lenses of NZ photographers Glenn Jowitt and Andrew Matautia.
Christchurch City Gallery - Persistent Encounters - Drawing on works of art from the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ to the modern period, this largely historical selection celebrates the visual storytelling of the narrative.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery - A Land of Granite - McCahon and Otago - until 28th June
This exhibition looks at McCahon’s exploration of the Dunedin and Otago landscape, with a focus on works held in the collections of this region.